So I went to the dentist this week…
Wait, don’t run away! If you get the willies just thinking about dental procedures, I promise I’m not going to describe any scary stuff. But I did manage to look foolish and give myself the giggles.
You’d think the scope for embarrassment would be relatively limited at a dentist’s office. You walk in, sit down, let them do whatever needs to be done, pay, and leave. Short of performing a spectacular pratfall on the way to the chair (and I didn’t), it’s a pretty predictable experience.
Going to the dentist isn’t a big deal for me. My teeth are good, and my dentist is excellent and super-nice to boot. But it turned out that my favourite dental hygienist had moved away so I was assigned a new one.
I don’t know whether I was adjusting to his unfamiliar technique or just having a particularly brain-dead day, but the way I carried on you’d think I’d never had my teeth cleaned before.
First there was the obligatory round of small talk with his fingers jammed in my mouth. I’m pretty sure both restaurant waitstaff and dental hygienists attend secret training courses so they can pinpoint the exact moment their mark’s client’s mouth is stuffed as full as possible. Then it becomes a sporting event to ask a question and watch, completely straight-faced, while the mark client struggles to respond intelligibly.
This guy was good. He didn’t even crack a smile while I mumbled stuff even I couldn’t decipher. Then he started the cleaning, with its usual routine of rinse-and-suction.
And I damn near drowned myself.
I drooled, sputtered, and almost sucked the side of my own face off with the suction tube. My bib was soaked, and fortunately he’d given me a tissue because I tipped my head a little too far and water ran out the corner of my mouth and into my right ear. Then I coughed up a gout of water that sprinkled my goggles and dampened the back of my collar before I could catch the waterfall with my tissue.
That made me giggle and try to say, “Geez, I didn’t think I needed another shower today”, but since I still had a small amount of water plus a couple of his fingers in my mouth, it came out as rhythmic gurgling and eruptions that made me look as though I was trying to emulate the fountains at Bellagio. (Though I’m pretty sure my version of fountain choreography will never succeed as a tourist attraction.)
But if there was a video camera hidden in the ceiling and if I’m right about the secret sporting society, my hygienist will be taking a bow at their awards dinner this year.
Well played, my friend. Well played.
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P.S. Any time I think of dentists, I have a giggle at the old joke about the guy who’s at the dentist. The dentist gets out the drill and the guy reaches over, grabs the dentist by the balls, and says, “We wouldn’t want to hurt each other, would we, Doc?”